BATESVILLE, Ark. – Ozark Mountain Poultry (OMP) plans to acquire a chicken processing facility that ConAgra Foods intends to close in July.

ConAgra announced on March 6 plans to close its Batesville, Ark., poultry plant. “After a thorough assessment of our operations, the company has determined that we need to close the Batesville facility and make Banquet chicken at a different location,” Dan Hare, ConAgra spokesman said in a statement. “This will allow the company to operate as efficiently as possible and remain competitive.”

Production will be transferred to other ConAgra facilities. Meanwhile, OMP will retrofit the building to accommodate new processing capabilities. ConAgra did further processing at the facility; OMP plans to do first processing/harvesting.

“We are pleased to expand our investment in Arkansas and contribute to the state’s poultry industry with the intended purchase of the facility located adjacent to our Batesville operation,” said Ed Fryar, CEO of OMP. “We plan to retrofit the building to accommodate a new poultry processing line. This will allow us to expand rapidly and with minimal disruption to our current processing operation. Our target completion is scheduled for early 2016.

“This investment is part of the company’s overall growth strategy,” Fryar added. “OMP is currently also constructing a new feed mill in Magness, Ark., to support its increased operations. The feed mill will be completed by early 2016 as well.”

OMP produces and processes antibiotic-free chickens for foodservice and retail customers under the Forester Farmer's Market brand.